Summary: "Don't ever waste an hour wishing you had another one."
A/N: Hi guys! I'm Geekmage, which you probably already figured out. This is my very first Kataang fiction. It will probably be one of the longest, most boring things you'll ever read. Please feel free to read it any I worked really, really hard on this piece. It's really AU. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I don't own Avatar I'm still hoping Mike and Brain will give it to me for Christmas.
He lived in the soft white pearl, symmetrical house surrounded by gnomes. One street across and four doors up in a cerulean house delimited by flowers that were painted like a picture, was the home she lived in. The friendship they shared was greater then any I had seen in my gorgeous sixty-two years of life. One would have a better chance of seeing a supernova. But when more and more strings are added to the ties of friendship it's only natural that the friendship blossom into something more.
Every day I watched them walking down from the school, taking an intermission at the hill where he would grab her hand and they would run all the way down. When they were close to the bottom and it seemed nothing could stop them they would jump up together as if to take of and fly.
I had watched them play as children from behind my azaleas through most of their dawn period. I knew how much they had dreamed of flying. In fact, it was probably unhealthy to want something so badly. Many summer days found them on the pavement staring longingly at the kites they would fly down the sidewalk. I could almost see the dollar signs in their wide, shimmering eyes. They would save up all the pocket money and stray change they could gather to by the kites. They aspired to run a business that would make flying devices that everyday people could use.
But this ambition was, like most childhood dreams, as short lived as the grayness in clouds in a rainstorm. They acquired more practical ambitions, as they grew older. She wanted to be a marine or a go into the medical field when she reached around eleven. It took him a little longer to leave the realm of a child's mind, but finally he reached an impasse. He accepted the fact that the ambition of flight was unrealistic, but he still had no clue what he wanted to do. But he knew one thing, what ever it was he wanted to do it with her. Still, the ambition to fly still burned in the back of their hearts. But it before long this ambition would break free from their hearts and soar.
"Hey Katara?" Aang said as he turned his head in Katara's direction. She looked into his simpering eyes.
"Which question do you want me to give you the answer to now?" She asked, putting her hands at her waste and cocked her eyebrow in a sternway but still smiled. Aang gave her a sheepish grin and pattered his feet on his bed.
"I don't want you to give me your answer, I just…I'm simply curious as to what you got. Is curiosity against the law or something?"
"Of course not," she said, not freeing herself from her mischievous stance. "But I to, am curious as to what you got." Aang's grin abridged.
"Sure thing, which one do you want me to tell you?" Katara's eyes fell to her page, and they scanned it for a particularly difficult problem.
"Ah, here we go, number fifteen," she stated brightly.
"Okay," said Aang, his grin waxing again. "But I asked you first, so you tell me."
"But I insist that you go first. You deserve it." Katara said sincerely.
"Ladies first Katara," Aang countered.
"Exactly, that means you have to tell me first," Katara said, nodding her head vigorously. Aang scowled. Aang had a few good comebacks for that but he kept his mouth clamped on them, for fear that he would not get the answer from Katara.
"Fine," he gave in. "I want you to tell me the answer because I don't know it. Please?" Katara giggled at his simpering eyes. He looked so cute when he did that. She abruptly stopped giggling.
Did I just say Aang looked cute?
Well ever looks cute with puppy dog eyes. She tried telling herself. It's completely normal,
Right? She looked back at him and felt a thrill of excitement. His silver eyes were still simpering making them look like pools of water. She felt like she just wanted to dive into them.
"Yoo-hoo. Any one home?" Aang waved his palm in front of Katara's eyes. She blinked and looked at the boys face again. He is kind of cute any way, but like a dog not a person so it's okay for me to say that.
"So whatcha get?" Katara shook her head and the playful expression once again stole over her countenance.
"First you must say 'Katara is way smarter then Aang and is very lucky to get walked to the short bus by Katara every day.'"
"Aw, come on. Why do I have to say that?" Aang asked exasperatedly, but Katara knew he was only playing around.
"Because it would just make my day," Katara replied. "You wanna see me happy, don't you?"
"Of course, you're my best friend," he said.
"Then say it," Katara commanded.
"But would a friend really make their friend say that?" Aang asked.
"Is your pride really that great Aang?" Katara challenged.
Just then Appa ran into the room and dived into the bed between the two teens. He started lapping Katara's face as if it were a plate covered in a particularly tasty sauce. Katara closed her eyes and started laughing.
"Geroffer," Aang pulled the large dogs collar to no avail. "I swear, it's like this thing weighs ten tons." The dog wouldn't budge so Aang had to let him finish the polishing of Katara's face.
Finally he finished. H jumped of the bed and trotted out of the room, most likely in search of Momo, Aang's cat. Appa would be quiet for hours, then just randomly pop up, lick someone until his or her face nearly fell of, then go of to play with Momo. The two got along surprisingly well for a cat and a dog. Aang promised Katara that he would give her one of their amalgam cat/dogs when the two got around to mating.
"Okay," Katara continued as if they had not been interrupted. "Say it."
"Never mind, I wanna go to the lake," Aang said stretching his arms.
"Aang, I don't think Gyeotso will let us go anywhere with out finishing our homework," She replied.
"Come on Katara. You know how laid back he is. He's not your dad," Katara frowned.
"There's nothing wrong with my dad," she said indignantly. Aang sat up strait.
Katara hadn't been on the best terms with her dad since her mother passing, even if it had been two years prior. But she didn't want anyone to know this so whenever people said anything that wasn't absolutely wonderful regarding him she would go on the defense. She was sure that Aang had noticed on the first day. But he tried to give Katara her space. She kind of wished that he wasn't like that, that he would actually try to help her a bit. But she knew that she had to let him in first and she had been to scared to let him.
Even so, Aang provided so much comfort for her through all of her difficult times. Just his carefree presences would be enough to make her muscles bubble. He had been the only one who managed to make her smile at her mom's funeral. He held her the whole time that they lowered her into the ground, stroking her unwashed hair as she sobbed uncontrollably for three strait hours. He himself had never gone through anything so difficult in his life but he still understood.
"I know," Aang said. "I didn't mean anything. Katara are you okay?"
"Yeah I'm fine," Katara said shortly. "Lets go to the lake." Aang couldn't argue with that order.
Convincing Gyeotso wasn't as hard as they thought it would be. Aang just had to promise to bake him a custard pie later on. As the pair walked to the lake Aang mimicked Mr. Roku, their science teacher.
"You know Katara, I don't think Mr. Roku would like it if his favorite student was making fun of him like this." Aang told a laughing Katara.
"Aang, he hates me more then he hates you. But he doesn't like any girl in the class." Katara mused.
"He thinks you should go on to honors chem. Katara. You're only in ninth grade and honors chem. is a junior class! But he's right you know. You're so smart that you should be in all honors classes, not just science." Katara blushed at from Aang's complement, but Aang didn't notice. "It's a miracle that I'm in an honors class, Roku says I should be in the janitors closet instead."
"Aang, you really smart, you just need to apply yourself." Aang rolled his eyes. We're here. Who goes first?"
They looked at the rope that hung from a tree branch over the lake. The two of them had tied it on a tree-branch nine years ago when they had first met. They would spend hours on it, swinging back and forth. Beyond the lake was a clearing in the forest next to their small town of Ba Xing Xe. The clearing was their sanctuary. It held a sort of magic. But they would never go alone, for the magic was only there when they were together. The rope was the closest thing they had to flying. As kids the two of them could fit on the rope together, but as they got older and bigger the rope began to threaten to break so they went over the lake one at a time.
"You can go first Katara," Aang said catching the rope for her.
""Thanks," she answered, trying to regulate the temperature of her face. Why was he making her blush so much?
She swung over the lake and a wonderful feeling incased her body. She felt intoxicated with happiness. She didn't feel that it was possible to feel so many good emotions at a time.
Then Aang took his turn to swing over the lake. She felt her face heat up again, but felt Goosebumps sprout on it at the same time. He looked so handsome as he flew over the lake, as carefree as a breeze. He gave her one of his grins again, a grin that was too big for his face. When he landed Katara felt as if her limbs would fall out of their sockets. She couldn't control herself.
She took Aang's soft face into her palms and let her lips melt into his. It was nothing like she had ever experienced before. Her ex-boyfriend Jet had been a great kisser, but this, this was something else entirely. This was amazing. Finally their lips drifted apart like a pair of butterfly wings before a long flight. They stood in blissful silence for a few minutes.
"W-what does this m-mean," Aang stuttered.
"I am so sorry Aang," Katara said as her eyes grew wide as if she had just realized what she had done.
"Don't say sorry, Katara. You have no idea how long I've been waiting for you to do that for." Aang said.
"I-I've had feelings for you for as long as I can remember." Aang confessed. They were silent for several minutes as Katara tried to sort out her thoughts and feelings.
"I've had feelings for you as well Aang," she said slowly. "But I don't know if I'm just rebound Jet or not." Jet had been her boyfriend for three years and her break-up with him had been one of the toughest things Katara had gone through in her life. Aang had been there for her like he had been there for her through all of the other milestones in her life. It would only be natural for her to be rebounding Aang.
"I understand," said Aang, and always did.
"J-just give it a month or so Aang, and I should know, I feel bad about making you wait."
"Don't worry," said Aang brightly. "I don't want part of your heart, I want all of it." Katara hugged him and thanked him.
"So," he said playfully as she let go. "Wanna play tag?" Katara just loved how he could recover so easily and stay happy all the time, unlike Jet who got sour about every little thing. It started out as Katara having the perfect boyfriend, smart, charming, talented, and good-looking. But he was just bitter and miserable all the time, he was controlling and oh so arrogant. He always acted like he could do so much better than Katara and that Katara was the most privileged girl on earth because he had picked her.
The two of them played tag for a while, then hide-and-go-seek, man on the mountain and other adolescent games like that. Aang was chasing a butterfly as Katara followed the flash of his red shirt between the trees when she noticed it was getting dark. Convincing him to go home was difficult and reminding him of the mountain of homework they had left to do certainly did not help things. Finally they went back to the rope.
"Aang?" Katara said. Her voice sounded like that of a child who was afraid of the dark.
"This had been the best day of my life." She gave him a watery smile.
"Mine to, it's been perfect."
Katara took the first swing across. For some reason it didn't feel right. She swung across and it felt like she would never stop until she hit the sky. She waited for the familiar yank when the rope stopped unraveling but it came very late. She tossed the rope to back To Aang when she dismounted. She tried to swallow the nervous feeling that swelled up in her throat.
"Here I come," Aang called as he caught the rope. He walked back as far as he could without letting go of the rope. Then he broke into a run. He ran so fast, faster then anyone Katara had ever seen he looked like a flash of light against the dark landscape. Finally he jumped and slowly glided over the lake, draining Katara of her uneasiness. He looked so majestic gliding over the lake. The way his sliver eyes held his dilated pupils made him look like he was in a trance.
It happened so suddenly. Looking back, Katara would never remember how it had happened. She just remembered a few splashed and feelings as if the bottom of her stomach had fallen out before the procession. The last thing she saw was his body on a stretcher before she fell into oblivion.
Katara awoke abruptly. She squinted to try and see but then realized that it was dark.
"Aang!" she called out, and her own voice startled her. She felt her fingers and toes tingle. The light flickered on and her eyes snapped shut.
"It's okay Katara," she heard her fathers voice as if it was far away. She felt a warm and on her shoulders and realized she was shivering. The hand tried pushing her back into her bed and she obeyed its pressure. Her eyes lids felt like a pair of cinder blocks. She pulled them away from her eyes and the ceiling of her room came into focus. She turned her head slowly to meet her fathers face. She tried to ask him what happened and what was going on but she only shouted Aang's name again.
"You saved his life Katara," Hakoda informed her. Katara blinked. "He fell into the lake and began to drown, but you dived in and pulled him out just in time. They called me up and I brought you home, you were in a daze so I sent you to bed." She blinked again as if she hadn't comprehended his words. Aang's name was the only think that filled her skull now.
"I guess your still in the daze," Hakoda chuckled.
"Where is he?" Hakoda abruptly stopped chuckling. He allowed all emotion to fall from his face before he said. "He's in the hospital."
Aang's name stopped vibrating her skull. "What?"
"Well he was unconscious-but still breathing," Hakoda threw in when her eyes widened again. "He should be out in a day of two day."
"I think I need to go see him," Katara said hardly hearing her own words.
"In the morning," Hakoda said. You need to sleep now. He gave her a stern look. She was too tired to protest anyway.
Katara's eyes fluttered as if they were hanging on hinges. She forced them open as the events of the previous day played through her mind. She had to go see Aang. She untangled herself from her covers and stumbled down the stairs. Hakoda told her to shower first. She couldn't have Aang wake up to that kind of a smell. She didn't argue much and was grateful that Hakoda had made her shower when the warm water hit her face.
Katara must have been showering for hours. The water completely woke her up and she mediated on what it would be like when Aang woke up. They would discuss this event for months. And she now had the 'I saved your life' card in her deck now for future debates with him. She clouded any thoughts of him not waking up with images of his grinning face.
She thought about their kiss and how Aang had given been willing to wait for her. He had already waited so long for her but he seemed as if he was ready to wait until the end of the world for her. Her brother Sokka had told her that she had stole Aang's heart the moment they had met and it sooner or later Katara would have to give him her heart in return. That day seemed felt like it was coming soon.
When the water started to become cold and Katara could no longer ignore the cry of her stomach she finally turned of the water. She probably hadn't eaten since she got home. After a rather large breakfast of waffles, sausages and toast Katara and Hakoda finally left the house at 4:00 pm.
Hakoda waited in the waiting room as Katara headed up the stairs to see Aang. She was grateful for this. She wanted to see Aang alone, for she planned to discuss some things' with him.
When she reached the room she saw Aang's parents standing beside his bed, each one holding one of his hands. He was awake! In front of them a sallow faced doctor was saying something to him. When she finished Aang's burst mom into tears. Katara felt her insides squirm. Was everything okay?
The doctor left the room and Katara rushed into it. Aang's face went from green to red when he saw her. Gyeotso was hugging Aang's mother hard, as if trying to stop her from melting.
"Hello Katara." He said, his voice breaking. "We need a few minutes alone. Would you please excuse us?" Katara nodded. She glanced back at Aang and nearly jumped when she saw his face. She walked out of the room and leaned against the wall for an hour, her insides bubbling the entire time. Finally Aang's parents walked out of the room; still interlocked the way they had been before. They didn't spare her a glance.
Katara darted into the room. Aang gave her a week smile. "Hey there," he croaked.
"What's wrong?" she forced her self to ask the question, afraid of what the answer would be.
"You might want to sit down, it's a long story," said Aang, gesturing the chair next to Katara. She sat down and Aang took her warm hand into his cold, insipid ones.
"Well, as you know the rope broke when I went across the lake," This made so much more sense to Katara. "I fell in and you dived in and pulled me out. Well when I hit the water my back smashed against a rock, the rock pierced through my spinal cord and out through an intestine. They did a surgery on my intestines and realigned my back a bit, but it didn't help much at all. The intestine is swelling into my lungs at an alarming rate and my nerves got pinched up pretty bad so my body will paralyze. I have four months."
A few moments' prior, Katara's insides were withering like snakes, now it felt as if she had no insides at all. "Two months until when?" she asked, though she knew the answer.
"Until I die."
The next three weeks were the toughest weeks of Katara's life. For the first week Katara visited Aang every day. But the visits grew more and more painful so she visited less and less. She couldn't bear to see his pale, feeble face grimacing in pain, this would be the last way she would ever see his face. By the end of the second week the visits completely stopped.
It five weeks before the procession and Katara was sitting on the roof staring at the sky.
Hakoda sat down next to Katara. "I've been looking for you Katara. Figures you'd be on the roof, you know I'm afraid of heights. What happened to locking yourself in your room to avoid me?"
"Everything isn't about you," Katara snapped.
"I was just kidding," said Hakoda slightly taken aback. Katara didn't say anything. Hakoda put an arm on her shoulder but she withered free. Her eyebrows snapped together and her eyes narrowed.
"Katara, I really think you should go see Aang." He said dropping the lightheartedness. "I really think that he would want to see you." Katara continued to stare at him for several more minutes. Hakoda watched her frown tighten. Finally he opened his mouth to speak again but then Katara snapped.
"How could he do this to me?! He left me! He promised he would be with me and he left me! He promised." She croaked the last to words inaudibly.
"Katara-" Hakoda began.
"No! Don't deny it! We were going to become a couple! We were going to have starlit dinners! He was going to bring me flowers and chocolate and write me poems! We were going to get married! But he's leaving me! He's leaving me like everyone else! He's leaving me like mom did and like Jet did and Sokka did! I hate him! I hate him! I hate him!" she looked into her father's shiny eyes and saw a tear run down his check.
"I feel the same way Katara, I've been left to you know." Katara wanted to protest and shout some more, but she felt guilty for making him cry. "Your mother left me when she died. Sokka left me when he went to college. And you've left me as well. You've completely shut me out and you shut me out when I needed you. Now you're doing the same to Aang."
"But I need him now! And he's leaving me! When everyone else left Aang was always there for me but now no one will be there for me when he's gone. I'll never have another shoulder to cry on! I'll never have anyone to rap them self around me like a blanket! He's the last person I have! When he's gone I'll have know one! When he's gone I won't have a reason to live!" She collapsed in her father shoulders. He rapped his arms around her tightly and she inhaled his sent. She hadn't smelled it for so long. She just realized; she hadn't hugged her father since the day her mother died. She really had shut him out.
"I understand how you feel. But try to understand how he's feeling. He's fourteen years old and he just learned that he's dieing. Not to mention the physical pain he's going through. He's slowly becoming paralyzed so he'll just have to be a useless shell for the last few days of his life. He won't get to enjoy anything, he's only gonna have pain and the realization that he's gonna die soon for the rest of his life."
Katara pulled back from her father's shoulder and blinked at him. They stared at each other for a while as Katara tried to process his words. She slowly opened her mouth.
"Okay, I'll go visit him."
Katara waited nervously by Aang's door. His mother was in his room finishing a visit. She peered onto the room wondering what they were doing.
Aang stood on the floor in front of his mom with a body hunched over like the branches of a tree swaying in the wind at night. He slowly lifted one quivering foot and placed it on the ground. He tried again and again. Katara looked at his pale face, her stomach liquefied and she nearly threw-up. His cheeks were swollen and dirty streaks ran down them as they do when one has been crying. But that's not what scared Katara. What scared her was the futile look in his eyes. It was so pitiful. It felt like breeze would blow him away. He took a shaky fourth step to his mother then collapsed on the floor and began sobbing as if he was three. His mom struggled to hold in tears as she rubbed his back whispering to him that it would all be okay over and over again. Katara felt tears burn in the back of her eyes.
She had been so selfish. She was only thinking about her own need for Aang. But it Aang was who needed comfort. It was Aang who needed strength. It was Aang who need a shoulder to cry on. It was Aang who needed at sedative to numb the pain. It was Aang who need someone to wrap them self around him like a blanket. It was Aang who need a friend. It was Aang who needed Katara.
Aang finally calmed down and his mother left him to go to work, telling him his father would be there in a few hours. Katara could tell that Aang was willing himself not to cry again as his mother left the room. Katara took a deep breath before walking into Aang's view. Aang looked as if a flying pig had hit him when he saw her.
"K-Katara?" 'Hi' Katara mouthed to him. She pulled the chair from the corner of the room up to the edge of Aang's bed.
"Where were you?" Aang asked. Katara felt the guilt pulse in her blood. She had to tell Aang the truth.
"I'm so sorry Aang," She inhaled sharply. "The reason I haven't been here was because I was mad at you. I felt like you were abandoning me in a hole. A filthy worm infested hole. I thought that I needed it you to help me get through your death, like you helped me through all of the other difficulties in my life." Aang shuddered when she said the word death. It had been the first time she said the word and probably one of the few times Aang ever heard it being used.
"K-katara I need you," Aang choked. "I've never needed you more. You're the only one who can make me smile during difficult times. Even my parents can't. I have nothing anymore. You stripped me of everything by stopping your visits. You left me in a filthy worm infested hole with no food or clothes. Just the skin on my back. How could you leave me when I'm literally dieing?"
The salt water rolled down his ivory flesh once again. It seemed like it would just keep rolling and rolling like wheels on a bus. It seemed as if they hadn't seized since the fateful day, the day Katara once believed was the best day of her life. It felt as if she had never admitted her feelings to Aang, as if they had never kissed, as if they had never flown on the rope, between the trees. It felt as if the joy of that day had been ripped out of her heart.
"Aang, I'm so, so sorry for abandoning you. I know that does absolutely nothing to make up for it. You used to be the happiest person I new. Nothing could ruffle the hair on your head. But I've seen how drastically that's changed. I thought that you would be the only person I would know who would die with a smile on their face, not tear stained cheeks. And you will be, I promise you. I'll do everything I can to make you die grinning. But first Aang, you have to promise me something."
"What do you want me to promise you?" And Katara uttered the same words, the same vow that Sokka had made their mother seal before she died.
"Promise me that you will never waste an hour, wishing you had another." Aang had seen the determination in Katara's eyes when she made her vow, the very sparkle in her eyes that had first captivated him He didn't even hesitate.
Katara had known exactly how to fulfill the promise she had made. She would fulfill it by fulfilling the greatest desire of both hers and Aang's heart. The desire to fly.
That was why Katara was up at 2:00 am, chucking through a fourth cup of coffee, her staticy hair surrounded by clouds of books on aerodynamics. It had been three weeks since she had began the project. Through her research she had found Chinese kites that she planned to sort of emulate. She was planning to attach a very large piece of fabric to wooden poles that would be designed in to something like a chair because Aang wouldn't have the energy to balance. She had been working with her friend Teo and his father who was a very smart metal smith who had a lot of prior knowledge to things like this.
"…And those are the supplies that we will need for this," Katara stated. "So Teo, what's the total?" Teo looked up from his calculations. He swallowed thickly.
"Katara, just out of curiosity, how much do you wanna spend on this?" Teo asked nervously.
"As much as I need to, but don't worry guys, I wont make either of you spend a cent." Teo was surprised by the confidence in her voice.
"Well it'll cost around two thousand dollars." He mumbled. Katara blinked.
"Well I have two and a half months to make it. I can easily raise that much," Katara said. But she saw the look on Teo's face, which told her that she had no chance in hell.
"Katara, were gonna need at least one month to make the device because of all of the trial and error," He scowled at his father for not helping him.
"Well maybe the town will give us some money, its for a worthy cause," Katara said trying to force the doubtfulness out of her voice. The people of their small town were mostly cranky and stingy old men. They all thought Katara was crazy enough for trying this scheme. Hardly any one in their town had ever even seen a plane, or were two drunk to realize that what they were seeing was a plane and not the sky falling over their heads. And know one cared about flying.
"How much money do you have saved?" Teo wondered aloud.
"Two hundred and sixty one dollars," Katara recalled.
"Well I wouldn't count on the donations Katara," Teo said cryptically. Katara glared at him.
"I have an idea," Teo's father said. "Mr. Pakku's always looking for help, he pays thirty bucks an hour. You would have the money in no time."
Teo puckered an eyebrow skeptically. Mr. Pakku was one of the few farmers in their small town and he was always looking for help. And whenever he was looking help was hiding. He gave his farmhands the most difficult jobs he could find and often made them do discussing personal favors for him such as swabbing his toilets. He would always point out the flaws in his workers work and make it seem as if the mistakes would cause the apocalypse. If this happened he probably would refuse to pay you for the day because you did no work; you only created work for him and no one gets paid for giving work, they get paid for doing work. As you would be running out of the door he would always give you a melancholy prediction of what you would amount to when you grew up, which was always nothing. And each and every one of these speeches would be given in his dry, but oh so biting tone.
"That's perfect!" Katara exclaimed, I'll have the money in no time!"
"I think you should go ask him tomorrow, he should let you start right away."
"Your not serious, are you Katara?" Teo asked, eyebrow still hung high.
"Of course I am I have to do this for Aang, I'm going their first thing tomorrow." Katara hopped out of her chair and scurried of. Katara barley heard Teo mutter the fact that she probably didn't even know which end the chicken egg's came out of out of the corner of his mouth.
Katara stared at the red door. Her heart was racing. Mr. Pakku always scared her. Common. Aang wouldn't be afraid.
"You Know, the door won't ring itself, you must push the button next to it," Katara's heart skipped a beat. She turned to the window robotically. Mr. Pakku gave her a sarcastic wave. He opened his door a crack. "What do you want Katara?"
"Hi Mr. Pakku, how are you?" Katara asked uncertainly. Mr. Pakku took a few seconds to answer as if to try and find error in her question.
When he passed the question as error free he answered in a slightly disappointed town, "Very well, Thank you," Katara breathed a sigh of relief for answering correctly. She wished she could answer the question more bravely then that. Maybe if Aang was with her… She swatted the thought out of her mind as if it were unwanted fly. She had to stay focused now more than ever.
"I was wondering if you had any job openings available sir," Katara stated, surprised by the sudden boost of confidence in her voice.
"Well yes I do Katara, in fact, I need some help right now. Come on back please." Katara wiped her feet on his carpet and took of her shoes, but then Mr. Pakku told her that it was strange of her to prefer stepping in chicken crap in socks, rather than shoes.
The first task Katara was given how ever was cleaning out his gutters. Then she was given the assignment of painting his back porch. She did all of this in the blazing as Mr. Pakku slowly sipped a coupe of lemonade. He wouldn't let her take a single break even to get a sip of water. She felt sweat running down each individual strand of hair. Her throat was so dry, it was like hair was growing on the inside of it.
Finally five hours of laborious tasks and the constant chant of I'm doing this for Aang, I'm doing this for Aang had brought Katara one hundred dollars closer to her goal.
Enough was enough. Katara had spent almost all of her time on the project. Her grades were slipping. She couldn't remember the last time she had slept for more than five hours. Mr. Paku was being absolutely brutal to her. It was as if he enjoyed seeing her suffer. She had already tried making the flying machine four times, each one landing in a pile of dust right next to the previous one. Teo and his father had abandoned her when Teo got a minor concussion trying to help her. Whenever she wasn't working on the project she was with Aang.
It was painful to see him in such a futile state. But Katara, Aang's mother and Aang's father had taken turns visiting him so they could take the pain of seeing him in smaller doses. But it was too much for Katara. She couldn't finish the project. She couldn't fulfill the last dream of one free-spirited, adventurous boy before he left her.
Katara felt awful. How could she face Aang? He hadn't known about the plan but it was still painful. She felt as if she had completely let Aang down.
She walked into Aang's room and saw that he wasn't there. The bed was empty and hard so he probably hadn't been there for a while. Katara started to feel panic slide through her. Someone grabbed her shoulder. She jumped so high that she was surprised that she didn't impale herself on the roof. She turned around and saw Aang beaming at her.
"You scared me, Aang," He was sitting in a wheelchair. He looked so short in it. He was pretty short to begin with, only a couple inches taller then Katara. She gave him a small smile.
"Katara, I have something for you," Aang pulled something from behind his back. It was a soft, navy colored ring box. He flipped it open and Katara gasped. Inside was her mother's wedding ring. Katara didn't know what to think or feel. Aang continued to smile. Finally she managed to spew a few words.
"Aang, where did you get this?"
"Well, before I…left I thought I should do something for you. I knew your moms ring had been lost for months, and, well, I kind of always thought Jet took it," Katara gasped. "I went to his house, and it turns out he did. I had to get it back for you." Katara was exasperated.
"Are you okay Aang?! Did he hurt you?!" she asked incredulously.
"No, I-I just went to his house. I tricked him into sort of telling where the ring was. Toph came with me a second time and distracted him while I snuck in. I grabbed the ring and mad a break for it. It all happened last night." Katara opened her mouth to say something but only carbon dioxide came out.
"H-how did you, s-sneak in?" she finally managed to stutter.
"Well he was dumb enough to put it under his mattress so I wheeled around back behind his house. His room's in a basement and he had the window open so I was able to slip in without much effort. I grabbed the ring. Getting out was a bit difficult, but his bed was lined up against his window. I grabbed onto the window panel and pushed my self up. Then I swung out and was in the chair in seconds."
"Didn't it hurt you?" Katara asked, wide eyed. Aang blushed slightly. The color she saw was the only color she saw in his face since the accident.
"Not to much. But it was all worth it for you." Katara felt a single briny tear slide down her cheek.
"This is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me," she gasped. She extended her arms out as far as they would go and rapped them around Aang. She didn't know how long she had been holding him for, but it was a lot less longer then he deserved. She wished she could hold him like his until the stars stopped dancing. When she pulled away she gave him a kiss on the cheek.
Katara had never felt so guilty in her life. Aang was the one dieing and he did everything he could do make her happy before his life was over. She was supposed to be doing that for Aang, not the other way around. She had to finish the flying machine for him no matter what it cost her. She had never been able to fathom such selflessness in her life.
"So this is a wedding ring I'm giving you Katara, funny isn't it?" Katara realized that the boy would never get to marry or have kids in his life. But maybe he could. Katara got down on her knee.
"Aang, will you marry me?" Aang's smile grew wider.
"I would love to more than anything in the world Katara, but how?"
"Your dad is a pastor and anyone in our town is allowed to get married. People here could get married to vending machines. If your dad would agree to do it then we could." Katara's voice grew more and more high pitched with each word. She had never been so exited in her life.
"Are you sure you want to do this Katara?" Aang asked, trying to look serious, but he couldn't keep the smile of his cheeks. Katara thought. Aang was defiantly the greatest guy she knew. She didn't even have to tell herself, she was so certain of it now. She knew that this want just because he was dieing. If she could choose anyone to spend the rest of her life with and bare the children of it would definitely be the goofy kid who lived down the street.
"I've never been so sure of anything in my life," she stated. They both stretched out their arms and fell into each other's arms. They fit together like puzzle pieces, like a wing on an airplane. They came apart again and looked at each other. Katara felt the tears still slipping down her cheeks. The first tears she had had from positive emotions in so long. Aang lifted his arm and brush the tears away in one swift stroke.
"Well if you're that sure then yes Katara. 'Til death do us part."
Gyeotso had agreed to marry the two of them. In fact, he had agreed to do it the very day the proposal was made. Hakoda dug out Katara's mothers wedding dress for her to wear. Both the bride and the groom's parents had managed to gather plenty of friends to attend the wedding. Toph and Katara's friends Yue and Ty lee had agreed to be the Maids of Honor. Teo, Toph's boyfriend Zuko and Sokka, who had come home for Aang, were the Best Men.
Toph pulled the dress down hard, waiting for Katara's head to pop out. Finally it did.
"Toph you can't be that rough with the dress," Yue said smoothing out Katara's hair. Ty lee glanced at Katara and fell off of her hands.
"Katara, you look beautiful!" She exclaimed.
"She's right sugar queen, you look pretty good," Toph said. Katara felt her face go crimson. She looked down at the ivory dress. It was a little to long but Katara had to admit that it looked beautiful on her. It looked nothing like it had on her mother the way she had seen in the wedding pictures but it was beautiful.
"Well I think it's time now," said Yue. She started to walk to the door of the changing room, Ty lee wheeled behind her.
"Come on Katara," Toph said. Katara burst into tears. Yue rushed over to her.
"I can't do this," Katara whispered. Ty lee bounced over to them as well.
"Katara, what's wrong?" Yue asked gently.
"I can't do this," Katara sobbed. "When you get married you're supposed to have eternal happiness with the person you love. But Aang and I wont get that. He'll be gone as soon as he lifts the veil."
"Katara you're being selfish!" Toph exclaimed. Katara glanced at Toph through her tears. "Aang's the one who wont ever have kids, or a job or anything! And imagine how Aang's parents feel! They're losing their only child! Aang was really close to his parents; they were like best friends to him! They wont have anyone once he's gone! You still have a family! And he wasn't just your friend." Toph's voice began to break. Katara was taken aback. She had never seen Toph speak with such emotions before.
"We're all going to miss him Katara. Aang is the one who's dieing and he worked so hard to get your ring back. He hardly has any time left but he wants to spend the rest of his time helping others. I've never met any one like Aang in my life. He's one of the greatest people in this town and soon he'll be gone. When people like him leave the world the world suffers. He could have made such a difference if he had had the time. The least you can do for him is this, and if you don't do it then I will."
Yue and Ty lee finally extinguished the breath that they had been holding through Toph's entire speech. Toph tried hard to wipe her cheeks to no avail. Every time she wiped a tear away a new one replaced it. It was a while before Katara spoke.
"Your right Toph, I have to do this for Aang and even if I didn't I would. You're right Toph, Aang is a hero. He's the greatest guy I've ever known."
Katara's father poked his head into the dressing room. "You ready Katara?" Katara nodded. She left the room and hooked her father's hand and they stayed hooked as they waited for the Best Men and Brides Maids to walk down the isle. Toph and Aang stole a kiss on their way down the scarlet carpet.
Finally it was Katara's turn to walk down the scarlet laden hall. She saw Aang waiting for her in his wheel chair. He had more make-up on then Katara did. It really did make him look so much more handsome and not sickly like before.
The two friends exchanged their vows. They were so close now. "Aang do you take Katara to be your lawfully wedded wife?"
Katara do you take Aang?"
"Then by the power vested in me I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride." Katara began to lean in to kiss Aang, but using all of the energy he had, Aang rose from his chair. His legs wobbled but he kept his back as strait as it would be. He looked as if he would faint. But he managed to lean close and give a kiss to Katara.
The next two weeks were the toughest of Katara's life. Because of the circumstances the principal of Ba Xing Xe high let her leave school until Aang's death and be exempt from her homework. Katara's father had allowed her to move in with Aang so her residence became the Ba Xing Xe hospital. She and Aang shared a room and bed. If she wasn't in that room with Aang one would find her in the town park breaking her bones working on the flying machine or slaving for Mr. Pakku to earn money for the flying machine. With Sokka back she had found a lot more help on the project. Several other town folk had started helping as well but their help was very limited. Word still hadn't gotten out to Aang.
Katara looked at the beautiful fruit of her labor. She had finally made the flying machine. It was very similar to an Ancient Chinese Kite, but Katara had installed a seat with seat belt on Aang's so he could sit on it. It was made entirely of wood except for the orange and yellow fabric of a kite that rested on top of it. Someone just had to push Aang of a cliff and he would soar.
The entire town had gathered to see. Aang's mother and father were picking him up. Katara broke from the crowed that surrounded the machine and stood waiting for Aang to arrive. Finally she heard the squeak of wheelchair wheels announcing Aang's arrival.
"I'm hear for my surprise," Aang announced jokingly with his hands in the air. "I see that I'm not the only one who's curious about what my surprise is," he added, looking around at the group. Katara laughed.
"What happened to your arm?" Aang asked, looking at the cast rapped around her arm. Katara shook her arm saying that it wasn't important.
"Aang, ever since the accident I happened I've been nothing but miserable. You needed me to get you through this and I need you. You've done more than your part to get me through it and it's about time I did mine. So Aang, what do you want to do most before you die? What was the number one thing you've always wanted to do? Anything, even if it defines the laws of physics?" Katara raised her eyebrows twice and grinned the way he always did. Aang thought for a moment. A smile began to curve his lips.
"Well it's a pretty ridiculous wish…" Aang began.
"But…" Katara nudged. Aang shook his head.
"I know it could never happen."
"But was is that wish, Aang?" Katara asked serenely.
"Well, I think it might be the same as yours. I wish I could fly before I die."
"Yes!" Katara squealed. "Perfect! Well Aang, prepare for that wish to be granted." And as if on cue the crowed the crowed made an even parting to reveal the flying machine. Aang looked completely gob smacked. He became entirely petrified as he stared at the contraption.
"Is that…A-a flying M-machine?"
"Yes. I've been working on it for months. And now it's time for you to ride it." Aang was still petrified.
"There's only one seat," he whispered.
"Of course there's only one seat. Why would there be more than one?" Katara inquired.
"Your dream is to fly also, how will you do it?" Katara hadn't once considered the possibility of her having her dream come true by riding the machine.
"I made this for you Aang." She replied.
"Fly with me, you can sit on my lap."
"The weight of both of us will break it." Katara said.
"Come on Katara, I'm not that fat," Aang said feigning indignant ness. Katara laughed. "You worked hard to make this Katara. You go first."
Katara couldn't believe her ears. Even after everything Aang was offering to let her go first.
"Aang, please stop being such a hero, your making me want to push you of this cliff. Come on," Katara said with a swoop of her hand.
Aang wheeled around next to Katara. Sokka lifted Aang out of his chair and into the flying device. 'Thank you' Aang mouth before Sokka pushed Aang of the cliff.
Katara had never seen such a big smile on his face; he had never emitted such a deep laugh before. For the first time since the accident she had seen color on Aang's face. His countenance glowed crimson with exhilaration. He would have made the perfect picture. She had done it. She had allowed Aang to not waste an hour wishing for another one. She would give anything to keep this illustration burning in her eyes forever. The image of Katara's friend blurred with her sudden tears.
After that day Katara never saw him again.
I am Aunt Wu. Love, like a birds itinerary, is unpredictable. I try my best to ask the stars and clouds what they believe and they answer me a lot. I enjoy prying into youthful love.
They say young love never prevails and the fruitful desires of teenagers shift from one to the other faster then a breeze. This is true for the most part, but not always. On a few rare occasions two young wings will join into one body and soar higher then the wings of any other.
A/N: So, what did you think? Amazing? Okay? I would have been better of wiping my butt on a piece of paper and posting that? Got any tips? Please review!